Archive | January 2012

the return of pink/orange and dressed to overheat

I often find that when people comment on my clothes, I want to tell them a story. I tell them where and when and under what circumstances I got a particular item, if I’m proud of myself for acquiring it (it was the last one or a bargain, or…). Today, I find I want to talk about two pieces of clothing no one has commented on so far (one no one sees..) because each one has a story behind it.

Here they are together.

just average ordinary gym clothes (I wear t-shirts over the bra though)

Pretty unexciting, right? Sports bra and running tights (or capris…). And yet both of these make me laugh for different reasons.

So, let’s start at the top.

I know, it's wrinkled

I got this pink and orange Champion sports bra along with another, similar stripey bra a little more than two years ago. When I moved in with mr. strivingcynic, I knew I’d seen pink/orange, but one day it was just gone. I thought maybe it was in the laundry, but loads came back pink/orange-free. Every time I cleaned a drawer I thought, maybe I’ll find that pink and orange bra stuck behind, or under, or inside, but it never materialized.

The other week, as I began my preliminary organization, I once again went through my drawers. Mr. sc was hanging out with me, so I mentioned how I was missing pink/orange, showed him yellow/blue and realized that it still wasn’t turning up.

same pattern, different colors

It was just a mystery. So, imagine my surprise the other week when I came home one day to find pink/orange in our laundry basket! Mr. sc was doing laundry and thought something had fallen behind the washer. He was wrong, but a certain pink/orange piece of clothing was waiting back there. I have a friend who has an adage about how you make room in your life when you clean/sort/organize, so I felt like pink/orange’s return was my reward for cleaning!

On to the bottom. I was at Target before Christmas when I saw this baby on the clearance rack. Everything was right about it. The length, the hot purple trim, the price! I was so excited! I got them home, washed them, tried them on to see how they fit and realized one small issue.

cute, right? Love the purple stripe

The inside is fleece.

can you see the fleecey goodness?

They feel so soft and warm…so cozy. Which is all well and good if you’re working out outside, but I go to the gym. Which is heated….so the thought of wearing fleece while exercising is…not exactly a punishment, but not exactly a pleasure either. I have worn them once or twice (on nonrunning days) and I do get warm. Sometimes I think they might make good wear around the house pants, or even pajama bottoms. I suppose it serves me right for not investigating them further!

Has any of your clothing ever gone missing? Did it return to you? Have you ever bought clothes that you realized weren’t quite what you thought?

top ten books I’d recommend to someone who doesn’t read. . .

It’s Tuesday again, so it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish (thanks so much for hosting this B&B). This week we’ve been given some latitude in our Top Ten Topic–in this case, we get to pick the genre in which to recommend books. After debating a bit, I’ve decided on Top Ten Books I’d recommend to someone who doesn’t read………chick lit.

I’ve mentioned before that I think in some ways, chick lit is underrated (in part because it’s a “female” genre). I’m all for the frothy escapism/wish fulfillment aspects of chick lit. Some books are pure fun; others are more serious and I think get a little damaged by the chick lit label.

So what would I recommend? Well, there are three chick lit authors whose books I “collect” so I’ll talk about them and which of their books I enjoy.

Jennifer Weiner. Weiner’s books are both funny and touching and serious. My favorites from her are 1. Good in Bed, 2. In Her Shoes, 3. Little Earthquakes, and 4. Best Friends Forever (I have yet to read her two latest; Fly Away Home, and Then Came You). Her heroines are vulnerable and likable, often slightly on the outside, and I find that I get through these very quickly, wanting to know how it all turns out.

Marian Keyes. An author who writes fun chick lit that often makes me cry. Her novels often center around an (or more than one) issue…alcoholism, addiction, abusive relationships..and that’s just the A‘s. Some of her books that I’ve particularly enjoyed are 4. The Last Chance Saloon, 5. Sushi for Beginners, and 6. The Brightest Star in the Sky. She’s also written several books about the Walsh sisters (and their hilarious mother) that are great (serious) fun.

Sophie Kinsella. Her 7. Shopaholic series (I think there are six of them) is pure fun as it follows Becky Bloomwood on her overspending and underthinking journey through life, marriage, and a baby. Of her non-Shopaholic books, I particularly enjoyed 8. Twenties Girl and 9. The Undomestic Goddess.

Rather than naming a tenth book, I’ll mention two other authors I’ve read and liked and some of whose books I own (but don’t collect). Although I find their works a little uneven, I’ve enjoyed books by Jane Green and Wendy Holden? (Who can resist a title like Bad Heir Day?)

Do you read chick lit and if so, what or who are your favorites? If not, what genre would you write your version of this post on? And of course, feel free to link to your own list!

problem solving, treadmill style

A little while back, I wrote about how the treadmills at the gym can be a bit contrary regarding how much time they’ll let you run. Sometimes they’d stop after an hour, sometimes they’d let me run past the 60 minute mark. I was mystified until I tried the “Manual” function for setting up my workout and realized the times must be preset (by the gym folks?). For a while, the limit was 76 minute (why 76 I have no idea), but other times, it gave 60 as the max. I can only guess that the gym employees do the presetting, but why the changes, I also don’t know.

Before I understood the preset, I’d just be thrown off (well, not literally…) when the treadmill would suddenly stop at 60. Since I’m working towards building up my distance, I need more than an hour. So, I’d be towards the end of my run when everything would stop short of the distance I wanted, forcing me to restart the machine and have to calculate how much distance was left.

So, then I got an idea.

it's photo time!

If I have to deal with the treadmill stopping during my run, taking a photo on my phone would be an excellent way to record what I did. I still have to calculate a bit, but once I pause (I don’t run the distance straight through by any stretch of the imagination), I can check it to recalculate. When I get home and go to record my run, the evidence is there!

hit my mark and done!

This has really helped, since I find keeping track of multiple sets of numbers (since I also track time) can be overloading once math is involved. Most of my runs are only 20 minutes so it’s easy to remember, but for my once a week “I want to increase my distance” (I’m ahead of myself for now having hit 8 miles on Saturday).

Of course, this is yet another way that the iPhone that I said I think I’m too dependent on has crawled into my life (and I have another upcoming tribute to the iPhone post in the works…it never ends). I had been leaving the phone in my car when I worked out, the idea being that I had it with me in case I needed it on the road. Now that it’s gotten so cold, I don’t want it sitting out in below-freezing temperatures, so I’ve been bringing it in with me, which gives me one more thing to keep track of/be paranoid about while I’m there. Leave it to me to have now incorporated it into the workout.

Is there a problem or issue that you’ve probably put way too much time in trying to puzzle out or solve? If you record your workouts in some way, how do you remember what you’ve done?

winter sleepy musings post

Oh. The weather has taken a turn for the cold. For all my love of Northern Exposure and wanting to travel to Alaska, the cold makes me just want to hibernate. I want to be like strivingcynic cat and find a nice, happy sunbeam to lie in and not move for a few hours.

he's found his sunbeam

Actually, we’ve had some pretty warm days lately, but it’s gotten a little colder, which makes me take stock of my “what will protect me from the cold” winter weather gear. This week has seen me wearing a layer of long underwear under my clothes (genius), double socks to bed (okay, I’ve been doing that all along), and wristlets (I think that’s what they’re called…fingerless gloves that cover the entire wrist). I’ve worn my warm faux fur lined boots to work (I’ve changed into my work shoes at the office).

And then there’s the tea. I always love tea, but once the weather gets colder I basically keep drinking it all day. I also bring a water bottle that I intend to drink all day too, but I end up never touching it (and to be fair, the tea is decaf).

My habits change in the winter. I eat less ice cream (I still eat it though). I still go for desserts, but I go more for cake, cookies, chocolate. I have almost no interest in getting fresh air; the winter blahs set in.

Good thing there are things that put a smile on my face. Seeing that there’s a little more light in the sky in the morning and evening, hot chocolate, warm blankets, and of course, this guy:

still there!

What gets you through the cold, winter days? When do you break out the winter gear and what are your favorites?

the movies I’ve seen. or want to see. or not.

I had been relatively happy with my movie watching in the last year…up 80 million percent from a few years ago. So, I was happy to have a look at Entertainment Weekly’s list of 25 Movies You Need to See Before Oscar Night (from their January 13, 2012 issue…I couldn’t find this on the EW site as I was writing, but others have put it up [and done similar post to mine…so if you want to see it, click this).

What I’ve seen from the list

1. Midnight in Paris. Didn’t really do much for me. I thought Owen Wilson’s character was dippy and I got annoyed at how the women were either horrible or pure male fantasy.

2. Moneyball. This one was good. I don’t think I’d give it a major Oscar, but maybe that’s because I’m not a big sports person.

3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I was a lot more impressed with this than I expected to be, especially with Rooney Mara. Aside from the “hard to believe that’s the same girl from The Social Network, you can see what challenges there are in playing Lisbeth and I think she was pretty brave to take them on.

4. Bridesmaids. Loved it in the movies, loved it on my home tv. Melissa McCarthy should have been nominated for a Golden Globe but wasn’t. Hopefully the Academy will get it right.

5. The Descendants. I felt this movie was uneven for me. There were times when I was really engaged in the story. Other times I found myself having to concentrate to stay involved. All the same, I see why George Clooney and Shailene Woodley would get Oscar buzz for their performances.

And believe it or not, of the 25 must see before Oscar movies, for all my movie watching this year, that’s all I’ve seen.

So, what do I want to see on that’s on the list.

1. The Artist. I suspect I will have seen this before Oscar night.

2. War Horse. I’m not seeing it in the theaters because I know I’ll cry. I used to well up seeing commercials for the play with the puppet horses, and I well up when I see the movie trailer too.

3. The Help. I have the book but haven’t read it yet. I like to read the book before seeing the movie, but I won’t insist on it.

4. Beginners. This one just sounds like an interesting movie.

5. Young Adult. The premise of this movie really appeals to me. We might manage to see this one in the theater.

So, what about the rest? I’m not “against” seeing any of them, but they for whatever reason, don’t really draw my interest. So, I’ll go ahead and name three that don’t hold any appeal for me.

1. The Tree of Life. I suspect I’ll end up seeing this one day on someone else’s instigation. But based on what I’ve read, I suspect I might find this long, boring, pretentious, and huh? (Shame on me for knocking it without seeing it…but that’s my reaction).

2. J. Edgar. I trust the lackluster reviews on this one…and when I saw a preview, I thought Leo just looked kind of weird in his aging makeup…I don’t know if I’d ever move past that (although I liked The Aviator so it must have worked for me then).

3. We Need to Talk About Kevin. I don’t mind heavy and depressing books…but I guess I like a dose of happy escapism in my movies.

Have you seen any of the same movies I’ve seen and what did you think? What about the other movies I’ve mentioned?

top ten authors I wish would write another book

Once again, it’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Thanks to them for their wonderful meme and themes.

This week’s ten was more challenging for me. If I think of all the authors I enjoy from times gone by, it’s not too difficult. When it comes to more recent authors it gets a little tricky. The fact is, most of the people who are on my list are dead, many of them for more than 100 years. Most authors I like who are among the living come out with books fairly frequently. Also, maybe because I have a book backlog, I’m not so caught up with most of my authors that I have the *right* to want them to write more!

Anyway. I came up with seven

First thing are my great but long dead authors who I wish there were more books from.

1. Jane Austen. Because she’s great and I do wonder what she would make of her “industry” if she were around today (no doubt, she’d be savvy whatever her feelings were).

2. Charles Dickens. I haven’t even read all his work (and once you move past novel length books there’s still a lot out there). All the same, I’d like to know there were more books out there.

3. Wilkie Collins. I haven’t read a lot of him either, but since he was a detective story pioneer, I’d love to see what he’d do with the genre as it exists now.

The next two didn’t die so long ago, but they wrote very few books.

4. Stieg Larsson. I’m reading The Girl Who Played with Fire and still have The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest to go, but there’s something about picking up an author knowing they only wrote a few books. If you like them, you know it’s going to hurt when you get to the end. I have a number of quibbles and problems with these books, but, they’re page turners.

5. Kate Ross. Sigh. From what I’ve picked up about Ross, she was a lawyer who wrote four Regency-era set mysteries featuring a bon vivant named Julian Kestrel. I don’t think she ever got really famous, but she developed a following and then died of cancer in her early 40s in the 1990s. When I first picked up her books, they were intriguing, but the author information told the story and I knew going in that there were only four mysteries and then it was done. A shame for many reasons. I have read the first three Cut to the Quick, A Broken Vessel, and Whom the Gods Love, and have had the fourth, The Devil in Music sitting on my shelves for the better part of 10 years. I keep promising myself I’ll read it if I achieve something I really want, but when I achieve it, I reset the bar. For whatever reason, I don’t want to be done with Ross.

And, authors who are writing, but if I could tell them what to write in a future book, here’s what I’d say.

6. He’s been writing, but I wish Peter Høeg would write another book featuring Smilla Jaspersen. Smilla’s Sense of Snow captivated me when I read it in the mid-1990s. And I think Lisbeth Salander owes a lot to Smilla (in fact, I wonder about some of the similarities sometimes), a small, tough, outsider (in Scandinavia) who will stop at nothing to discover the truth.

7. Again, I’m a little behind (haven’t read Smokin’ Seventeen or Explosive Eighteen so maybe something has happened on this front), but as much as I love Stephanie Plum (and I grew up in Hamilton, NJ)  I wish there were some forward movement and she wasn’t still so conflicted about which boy she wants to be with. So I wish Janet Evanovich would resolve that part of the plot, at least for a little while.

And that’s it. This week my top ten is a seven!

Update: I accidentally set this to post on Monday (lost track of my days…), so it’s dated Jan. 9th and posted simultaneously with the previous post, which was meant to be the only post for the 9th! Oops!

Who would you like to see another book from? Or which author would you like to “nudge”? If you have a list of your own, link away!

the random post

It’s time to do the blog [lazy] standard of random things about me. To be fair, I haven’t done this one before (although I guess every post has the potential to reveal something random and I’m sure that if this is the first time, it won’t be the last).

By the way, I’m linking this to Stephanie at Love Life Project’s Blog Cliches post because I think the randomness post fits the category….but so what?

Here goes.

1. I have never been to any Disney related theme park. And in case you forgot (or didn’t know), I’m 40, so there’s been plenty of time for me to have gone to one. It’s on my “one of these days” list.

2. I’ve had my ears pierced three times. I had them done when I was 7 or 8, but got a nasty infection (I think the backing actually somehow ended up inside my earlobe. Yep. Ick.) I got them redone when I was 10. I had a second hole put in my left ear when I was 18, but it’s now closed up. So it only looks like they’ve been pierced once.

3. Confession. I realized the backing in lobe issue when I was in my third grade classroom. I went into the classroom bathroom to have a look, but the mirror was at adult height. I stood on the toilet seat (no lid) to try to see my ear. Later that day the teacher yelled at us because there were “footprints on the toilet seat.” I did not ‘fess up.

4. If I’m in a movie theater or watching a movie with others and it makes me want to cry, I will stab my hand with my fingernail in the hopes that the pain will distract me so I won’t start crying. It doesn’t always work.

5. Along with my love for Gilmore Girls, I love the show Northern Exposure and have the entire series on DVD. In fact, because of NX for a long time, my plan was to celebrate turning 40 by going to Alaska. Although I didn’t end up going there this year, I definitely want to go in the not-too-distant future.

6. When I lived in my apartment I actually had a tv in the living room and one in my bedroom even though the rooms were adjacent to each other and I lived by myself. Sometimes I would turn them both on if I was moving from room to room. I did not bring my televisions when I moved in with mr. strivingcynic. We have one tv and our bedroom is on another floor.

7. I had the same elbow dislocated twice when I was a child. You know that trick where someone will swing a kid around by his or her arms? Apparently that’s how it happened the first time (too young to remember). I wince and rub my elbow every time I see someone doing that. I am fairly certain it was my left elbow because that’s the one that feels “funny” as I remember it. But, I’m not sure.

8. I’m not really sure what my favorite color is so I’ll usually say blue. Which I like. I’m just not sure if I like it more than the other colors out there.

9. Blue may be my “favorite” color but I like the way I look in red and in black and white.
[My preference for black and white has nothing to do with cat selection though…it just worked out that way]

strivingcynic cat is black and white (he's freaky because he's mid-roll)

strivingcynic cat's big sister was more white than black

10. I get much more angry than appropriate when I find that a cake, cookie, bread (or heaven help me, bagel), or cereal has raisins in it. I’m okay with raisins on their own…but I find them almost offensive when they’re in things!

That’s all for now! I’m sure I’ll be posting more from time to time!

Feel free to comment on my randomness or add one of your own.